We're headed to the mountains in a few days. Temps from the upper 20s to mid-70s... all together now... ahhh.
So I've been packing and prepping provisions. (Say that three times.) We discovered a few years ago that it's a lot easier to plan ahead and make things that freeze well to take on trips, especially for cabin time. So instead of hauling a bunch of groceries, we go ahead and make our favorite soups and stews and other saucy things that freeze well. We take those in a cooler and then all we have to do upon arrival is heat them up for dinner. No muss, no fuss. In the past, we've made things like lamb stew with mashed potatoes, chicken and mushroom soup, and risotto. So far, for this trip, we've made wild mushroom spaghetti sauce with bison meat, chicken and dumplings (a huge score to finally get the dumplings right), and we're working on a few others. Will share more of those recipes as soon as I can.
In the meantime, here's something we always take on trips to the great outdoors or sometimes just on road trips. There's a little sweet, a little salty, a little crunchy, a little chewy, a little naughty, a little healthy, something for everyone. It's our trail mix.
You can make this any way you please. The nuts are good for you and give you some protein. The dried fruits are a healthy sweet, while the chocolate is a necessary indulgence. You can mix and match these according to your own favorites or those in your group. I've included different things over the years, but the one thing I always include is Quaker Oat Squares cereal. May sound like an odd choice, but it's the perfect base. It's just ever so faintly sweet, it's oat-based, it's crunchy, it's great for high altitude challenged sensitive tummies. And it makes a great portable breakfast or snack when you need it. It's also fabulous when paired with a chocolate chip or chocolate almond. That's a good bite. (You know how you're always picking through the trail mix to get the combination of that perfect bite? There's lots to work with here for winning combinations.)
There is one tip I'll share about the cereal. You can mix the rest of your trail mix ingredients beforehand and toss them together. But wait until just before departure to add the cereal. It'll maintain it's crunch better that way.
Add as much or as little as you like of each of the ingredients or make up your own variation. Fresh roasted nuts (Whole Foods nut bar) add a lot to this. And if you're adding chocolate, use the good stuff. For chocolate in chip form, the only one to use is Ghiradelli's 60% chocolate chips. They're great in cookies too.
one box Quaker Oat Squares cereal plus
1/2 - 1 cup of each of these:
chocolate-covered roasted almonds
Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips
Ideas for additions/variations:
chocolate covered coffee beans, pretzel squares with peanut butter filling, raisins, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, sesame crackers, candied ginger, banana chips, dried mango, dried pineapple, dried berries, dehydrated berries/apples/pears